Agis IV, the elder son of Eudamidas II, was the 25th king of the Eurypontid dynasty of Sparta. Posterity has reckoned him an impractical monarch. Agis succeeded his father as king in 245 BC, at around the age of 20, reigned four years; the interest of his reign, derived from the domestic crisis of Sparta at the time of his succession. According to sources, the influx of wealth and luxury, with their concomitant vices, led to the Spartan way of life degenerating from the ancient simplicity and severity of manners, an extreme inequality in the distribution of wealth. Fewer than 700 families of the genuine Spartan stock remained, in consequence of the innovation introduced by Epitadeus, who procured a repeal of the law which secured to every Spartan head of a family an equal portion of land, the landed property had passed into the hands of few individuals, so that fewer than 100 Spartan families held estates, while the poor were burdened with debt. Agis, who from his earliest youth had shown his attachment to the ancient discipline, undertook to reform these abuses, re-establish the institutions of Lycurgus.
To this end he proposed a new partition of the lands. Another part of his plan was to give landed estates to the Perioikoi, his schemes were warmly seconded by the poorer classes and the young men, as strenuously opposed by the wealthy. He succeeded, however, in gaining over three influential persons: his uncle Agesilaus and Mandrocleides. Having arranged for Lysander to be elected one of the six ephors, he laid his plans before the senate, he proposed that the Spartan territory should be divided into two portions, one to consist of 4500 equal lots, to be divided amongst the Spartans, whose ranks were to be filled up by the admission of the most respectable of the Perioikoi and resident aliens. The senate could not at first come to a decision on the matter. Lysander, convened the assembly of the people, to whom Agis submitted his measure, offered to make the first sacrifice, by giving up his own lands and money, telling them that his mother and grandmother, who were both possessed of great wealth, with all his relations and friends, would follow his example.
His generosity drew the applause of the multitude. The opposite party, headed by Leonidas II, Agis' Agiad co-monarch, who had formed his habits at the luxurious court of Seleucus II Callinicus, got the senate to reject the measure, though only by one vote. Agis decided to rid himself of Leonidas. Lysander accordingly accused him of having violated the laws by marrying a stranger and living in a foreign land. Leonidas was deposed, was succeeded by his son-in-law, who cooperated with Agis. Soon afterwards, Lysander's term of office expired, the ephors of the following year were opposed to Agis, looked to restore Leonidas, they brought an accusation of attempting to violate the laws. Alarmed at the turn events were taking, these two convinced the king to take the unprecedented step of deposing the ephors by force and to appoint others in their stead. Leonidas, who had returned to the city, fled again, to Tegea, protected from Agis by Agesilaus, who persuaded Agis and Lysander that the most effective way to secure the consent of the wealthy to the distribution of their lands, would be to begin by cancelling the debts.
Accordingly, the debts were cancelled, all bonds and securities were piled up in the market place and burned. Agesilaus, having achieved his goal, contrived various pretexts for delaying the division of the lands. Meanwhile, the Achaean League applied to Sparta for assistance against the Aetolian League. Agis was accordingly sent at the head of an army; the cautious movements of the Achaean leader, Aratus of Sicyon, gave Agis no opportunity to distinguish himself in battle, but he gained great credit by the excellent discipline he preserved among his troops. During his absence Agesilaus so angered the poorer classes by the continued postponement of the division of the lands, that they made no opposition when the enemies of Agis brought back Leonidas II and set him on the throne. Agis and Cleombrotus fled for sanctuary, the former to the temple of Athena Chalcioecus in Sparta, the latter to the temple of Poseidon at Taenarum. Cleombrotus was allowed to go into exile. In 241 Agis was thrown into prison.
Leonidas came with a band of mercenaries and secured the prison, while the ephors entered it and went through the mockery of a trial. When asked if he did not repent of what he had attempted, Agis replied that he should never repent of so great a design in the face of death, he was condemned, executed by strangulation, the ephors fearing a rescue, as a great crowd of people had assembled around the prison gates. Agis, observing that one of his executioners was moved to tears, said, "Weep not for me: suffering, as I do, unjustly, I am in a happier case than my murderers." His mother Agesistrate and his grandmother Archidameia were strangled on his body. Agis was the first king of Sparta to have been put to death by the ephors. Pausanias, however, is undoubtedly wrong, says that he fell in battle, his widow Agiatis was forcibly married by Leonidas to his son Cleomenes III, but the two developed
Ptolemy III Euergetes
Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt from 246 to 222 BC. Euergetes was the eldest son of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his first wife, Arsinoe I, came to power in 246 BC upon the death of his father, he married Berenice of Cyrene in the year corresponding to 244/243 BC. 246/245 BC. She married her brother Ptolemy IV. Ptolemy IV Philopator, born c. 244 BC. Lysimachus; the name of the son is not known, but he is said to have been born in c. 243 BC. Alexander, born in c. 242 BC. Magas, born in c. 241 BC. Scalded to death in his bath by Theogos or Theodotus, at the orders of Ptolemy IV. Berenice born in c. 239 BC and died a year later. Ptolemy III Euergetes was responsible for the first known example of a series of decrees published as bilingual inscriptions on massive stone blocks in three writing systems, his stone stela is the Canopus Stone of 238 BC. Other well-known examples are the Memphis Stele, bearing the Decree of Memphis, about 218 BC, passed by his son, Ptolemy IV, as well as the famous Rosetta Stone erected by Ptolemy Epiphanes, his grandson, in 196 BC.
Ptolemy III's stone contains decrees about priestly orders, is a memorial for his daughter Berenice. But two of its 26 lines of hieroglyphs decree the use of a leap day added to the Egyptian calendar of 365 days, the associated changes in festivals, he is credited with the foundation of the Serapeum, as well as the temple of Horus at Edfu, which he commissioned in about 237 BC, although the main temple would not be finished until the reign of his son, Ptolemy IV, in 231 BC, it would not be opened until 142 BC, during the reign of Ptolemy VIII. The reliefs on the great pylon were only completed in the reign of Ptolemy XII. He, like many Pharaohs before him added to the Temple of Karnak, he maintained his father's foreign policy of subduing Macedonia by supporting its enemies. Ptolemy backed the Achaean League, a collaboration of Greek city-states, enemies of Macedonia, but switched his support to Sparta when it came into conflict with the Achaean League and proved itself more apt to fighting the Macedonians.
He was more liberal towards Egyptian religion than his predecessors. He supported and contributed towards various cults those of the Apis and Mnevis Bulls, as is stated in the Canopus Decree of 238 BC, in which the Egyptian priesthood praise him and his wife as "Benefactor Gods" for this religious support, as well as for maintaining peace by strong national security, for good governance, including when he imported, at his own expense, a vast amount of grain to compensate for a weak inundation; the Ptolemaic kingdom reached the height of its power during this reign. He continued his predecessor's work on Alexandria in the Great Library, he had every book unloaded in the Alexandria docks seized, had copies made of each one, gave the copies to the previous owners while the original copies were kept in the Library. It is said that he borrowed works of Aeschylus and Euripides from Athens, but decided to forfeit the considerable deposit he paid for them, keeping them for the Library rather than returning them.
Due to a falling out at the Seleucid court, Ptolemy's eldest sister Berenice Phernophorus was murdered along with her infant son. In response Ptolemy III invaded the Seleucid Empire, today known as Iraq, among other nations at the time. During this war, the Third Syrian War, he occupied Antioch and reached Babylon. In exchange for a peace in 241 BC, Ptolemy was awarded new territories on the northern coast of Syria, including Seleucia Pieria, the port of Antioch. From this capture he received fifteen hundred talents of silver a tenth of his annual income. During his involvement in the Third Syrian War, he managed to regain many Egyptian works of art, stolen when the Persians conquered Egypt. While he was away fighting, he left his wife Berenice II in charge of the country, but swiftly returned when trouble erupted there. New insights of Ptolemy III's sudden return include papyri describing how the Nile river didn't flood for several years, resulting in famine, a 20-year revolt against Greek rule in Thebes, climate proxy studies which suggest changes of the monsoon pattern at the time, all linked to a volcanic eruption which took place in 247 BC.
Ptolemy III's reign was marked by trade with other contemporaneous polities. In the 1930s, excavations by Mattingly at a fortress close to Port Dunford in present-day southern Somalia yielded a number of Ptolemaic coins. Among these pieces were 17 copper mints from the reigns of Ptolemy III to Ptolemy V, as well as late Imperial Rome and Mamluk Sultanate coins. History of Ptolemaic Egypt Ptolemais - towns and cities named after members of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Decree of Canopus Clayton, Peter A.. Chronicles of the Pharaohs: the reign-by-reign record of the rulers and dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28628-0. Ptolemy Euergetes I at LacusCurtius — Ptolemy III — Ptolemy III Euergetes entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith Bust of Ptolemy III from Herculaneum - now in the Museo Nazionale, Naples
The Achaean League was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Achaea in the northwestern Peloponnese, which formed its original core; the first league was formed in the fifth century BC. The second Achaean League was established in 280 BC; as a rival of Antigonid Macedon and an ally of Rome, the league played a major role in the expansion of the Roman Republic into Greece. This process led to the League's conquest and dissolution by the Romans in 146 BC; the League represents the most successful attempt by the Greek city states to develop a form of federalism, which balanced the need for collective action with the desire for local autonomy. Through the writings of the Achaean statesman Polybius, this structure has had an influence on the constitution of the United States and other modern federal states; the first Achaean League became active in the fifth century in the northwestern Peloponnese. After the catastrophic destruction of the ancient capital Helike by an earthquake and tsunami in 373 BC, it appears to have lapsed sometime in the fourth century.
The regional Achaean League was reformed in 281/0 BC by the communities of Dyme, Patrae and Tritaea, joined in 275 by Aegium, which controlled the important sanctuary of Zeus Homarios. The league grew to include the entire Achaean heartland, after a decade it had ten or eleven members; the key moment for the League's transformation into a major power came in 251, when Aratus, the exiled son of a former magistrate of Sicyon, overthrew the tyranny in his native city and brought it into the Achaean League. Since the Sicyonians were of Dorian and Ionian origin, their inclusion opened the League for other national elements. Aratus only twenty years old became the leading politician of the League. In the thirty two years between 245 and his death in 213, Aratus would hold the office of general a total of sixteen times. At this time, Central Greece and the Peloponnese were dominated by the Macedonian Kingdom of Antigonus II Gonatas who maintained garrisons at key strategic points such as Chalcis and Acrocorinth, the so-called "fetters of Greece".
In other cities of the Peloponnese, namely Argos and Megalopolis, Antigonus had installed friendly rulers who were perceived as tyrants by the Achaeans. Aratus, who had lost his father by the hands of such a man, called for the liberation of these cities and secured financial support for the League from Ptolemy II of Egypt, an enemy of the Antigonids, he used the money to challenge the Macedonian hold on the Peloponnese. Aratus' greatest success came when he captured Corinth and the fortress of Acrocorinth in 243 BC in a daring night attack; this blocked Macedonian access to the Peloponnese by land, isolating their allies at Megalopolis and Argos. In light of this success, a number of Greek communities, including Epidaurus and Megara joined the League and Ptolemy III increased Egypt's support for the Achaeans, being elected as the League's hegemon in return. Antigonus Gonatas made peace with the Achaean League in a treaty of 240 BC, ceding the territories that he had lost in Greece; the increased size of the league meant a bigger citizen army and more wealth, used to hire mercenaries, but it led to hostility from the remaining independent Greek states Elis, the Aetolian League and Sparta, which perceived the Achaeans as a threat.
Corinth was followed by Megalopolis in 235 BC and Argos in 229 BC. However the league soon ran into difficulties with the revived Sparta of Cleomenes III. Aratus was forced to call in the aid of the Macedonian King, Antigonus III Doson, who defeated Cleomenes in Sellasia. Antigonus Doson re-established Macedonian control over much of the region. In 220 BC, the Achaean League entered into a war against the Aetolian League, called the "Social War"; the young king Philip V of Macedon sided with the Achaeans and called for a Panhellenic conference in Corinth, where the Aetolian aggression was condemned. After Aratus's death, the League joined Rome in the Second Macedonian War, which broke Macedonian power in mainland Greece; the Achaean League was one of the main beneficiaries. Under the leadership of Philopoemen, the League was able to defeat a weakened Sparta and take control of the entire Peloponnese; the League's dominance was not to last however. During the Third Macedonian War, the League flirted with the idea of an alliance with Perseus of Macedon, the Romans punished it by taking several hostages to ensure good behavior, including Polybius, the Hellenistic historian who subsequently wrote about the rise of the Roman Republic.
In 146 BC, the league's relations with Rome collapsed, leading to the Achaean War. The Romans under Lucius Mummius defeated the Achaeans at the Battle of Corinth, razed Corinth and dissolved the League. G. T. Griffith has written that Achaean War was "a hopeless enterprise for the Achaeans, badly led and backed by no adequate reserves of money or men." Lucius Mummius received the agnomen Achaicus for his role. The original name Koinon of Achaeans continues to exist in epigraphy, denoting either the previous Peloponnesian members or the whole of Roman Achaea. In c. 120 BC Achaeans of cities in the Peloponnese dedicated an honorary inscription to Olympian Zeus, after a military expedition with Gnaeus Domitius against the Galatians in Gallia Transalpina. In Athens, in AD 221–222, the koinon of Achaeans, when the strategos was Egnatius Brachyllus, decided to send an embassy to the emperor Caracalla The government of
Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia
The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, an Archaic site devoted in Classical times to Artemis, was one of the most important religious sites in the Greek city-state of Sparta, continued to be used into the fourth century CE. The cult of Orthia was common to the four villages constituting Sparta: Limnai, in which it is situated, Pitana and Mesoa. Chronologically speaking, it came after the cult to the city-goddess Athena Πολιοῦχος "protectress of the city" or Χαλκίοικος / Khalkíoikos "of the bronze house"; the sanctuary is located in a natural basin between Limnai and the west bank of the Eurotas River, outside ancient Sparta, above the reach of all but the severest flooding. The oldest relics, pottery fragments from the late Greek Dark Ages, indicate that the cult has existed since the 10th century BCE, but not before; the cult celebrated its rituals on a rectangular earthen altar, built up by the ashes of successive sacrifices. At the beginning of the 8th century BCE, the temenos was paved with river stones and surrounded by a trapezoidal wall.
A wood and stone altar was built as well as a temple. The works were financed by the wars waged by Sparta. A second temple was built around 570 BCE during the joint reign of Leon of Sparta and Agasicles, when military successes provided funds; the terrain was consolidated, undoubtedly following erosion caused by the Eurotas. An altar and a temple of limestone, oriented the same way as the previous buildings, were built on a bed of river sand; the surrounding wall was enlarged, at this stage took on a rectangular form. The second temple was rebuilt in the 2nd century BCE, except for the altar, replaced in its turn in the 3rd century CE when the Romans built a theatre around the temple and altar to welcome tourists to the diamastigosis; the Artemis Orthia theatre is not to be confused with the much larger late Hellenistic theatre at Sparta. The cult of Orthia was a pre-anthropomorphic and pre-Olympian religion; the inscriptions mentioned Orthia. The cult addressed a xoanon of malevolent reputation, for it was reputedly from Tauride, whence it was stolen by Orestes and Iphigenia, according to Euripides.
Orientalizing carved ivory images found at the site show the winged goddess grasping an animal or bird in either hand in the manner of the Potnia Theron. Pausanias best describes the subsequent origin of the diamastigosis: I will give other evidence that the Orthia in Lacedaemon is the wooden image from the foreigners. Firstly and Alopecus, sons of Irbus, son of Amphisthenes, son of Amphicles, son of Agis, when they found the image straightway became insane. Secondly, the Spartan Limnatians, the Cynosurians, the people of Mesoa and Pitane, while sacrificing to Artemis, fell to quarrelling, which led to bloodshed. Whereat an oracle was delivered to them, he used to be sacrificed upon whomsoever the lot fell, but Lycurgus changed the custom to a scourging of the ephebos, so in this way the altar is stained with human blood. By them stands the priestess, holding the wooden image. Now it is small and light, but if the scourgers spare the lash because of a lad's beauty or high rank at once the priestess finds the image grow so heavy that she can hardly carry it.
She lays the blame on the scourgers, says that it is their fault that she is being weighed down. So the image since the sacrifices in the Tauric land keeps its fondness for human blood, they call it not only Orthia, but Lygodesma, because it was found in a thicket of willows, the encircling willow made the image stand upright." According to Plutarch, writing in Life of Aristides, the ceremony is a reenactment memorializing an episode in the Greco-Persian Wars. In addition to the flagellation of the diamastigosis, the cult entailed individual dances by young men and dances by choruses of girls. For the young men, the prize is a sickle; the presence of ex-votos attests to the popularity of the cult: clay masks representing old women or hoplites as well as lead and terracotta figures showing men and women playing the flute, lyre, or cymbals, or mounting a horse. The archaic winged Artemis, represented in many ex-votos from the 8th century to the sixth, lingered longest here as Artemis Orthia. Dedicatory inscriptions invoke either Orthia or Artemis Orthia.
The cult of Orthia gave rise to διαμαστίγωσις / diamastigosis, where the éphēboi were flogged, as described by Plutarch, Xenophon and Plato. Cheeses were guarded by adults with whips; the young men would attempt to get them. At least to the Roman era, the priestess could control the force of the flogging. During the Roman period, according to Cicero, the ritual became a blood spectacle, sometimes to the death, with spectators from all over the empire. An amphitheatre had to be built in the 3rd century CE to accommodate the tourists. Libanios indicates that the spectacle was attracting the curious as late as the 4th century CE; the site was bro
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land; the Isthmus was known in the ancient world as the landmark separating the Peloponnese from mainland Greece. In the first century AD the geographer Strabo noted a stele on the Isthmus of Corinth, which bore two inscriptions. One towards the East, i.e. towards Megara, reading: "Here is not Peloponnesus, but Ionia" and the one towards the West, i.e. towards the Peloponnese: "Here is Peloponnesus, not Ionia". To the west of the Isthmus is the Gulf of Corinth, to the east the Saronic Gulf. Since 1893 the Corinth Canal has run through the 6.3 km wide isthmus making the Peloponnese an island. Today, two road bridges, two railway bridges and two submersible bridges at both ends of the canal connect the mainland side of the isthmus with the Peloponnese side.
A military emergency bridge is located at the west end of the canal. The idea for a shortcut to save boats sailing all round the Peloponnese was long considered by the Ancient Greeks; the first attempt to build a canal there was carried out by the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC. He abandoned the project owing to technical difficulties, instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland stone ramp, named Diolkos, as a portage road. Remnants of Diolkos still exist today next to the modern canal; when the Romans took control of Greece, a number of different solutions were tried. Julius Caesar foresaw the advantages of a link for his newly built Colonia Laus Iulia Corinthiensis. By the reign of Tiberius, engineers tried to dig a canal, but were defeated by lack of modern equipment. Instead they built an Ancient Egyptian device: boats were rolled across the isthmus on logs, as the Egyptians had rolled blocks of granite to make their pyramids; this was in use by AD 32. In AD 67, the philhellene Roman emperor Nero ordered 6,000 slaves to dig a canal with spades.
Historian Flavius Josephus writes that the 6,000 slaves were Jewish pirates, taken captive by Vespasian during the Jewish wars. According to Pliny the Elder, the work advanced four stadia; the following year Nero died, his successor Galba abandoned the project as being too expensive. In the modern era, the idea was first proposed in 1830, soon after Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire, was brought to completion in 1893 after eleven years' work. Near the canal runs an ancient stone trackway, the Diolkos, once used for dragging ships overland. There are major concerns about preservation of this path. Greek campaigners are calling for greater effort by the Greek government to protect this archaeological site; the Hexamilion wall is a Roman defensive wall constructed across the Isthmus of Corinth guarding the only land route into the Peloponnese peninsula from mainland Greece
The phalanx was a rectangular mass military formation composed of heavy infantry armed with spears, sarissas, or similar pole weapons. The term is used to describe the use of this formation in Ancient Greek warfare, although the ancient Greek writers used it to describe any massed infantry formation, regardless of its equipment. Arrian uses the term in his Array against the Alans. In Greek texts, the phalanx may be deployed for battle, on the march, or camped, thus describing the mass of infantry or cavalry that would deploy in line during battle, they marched forward as one entity. The term itself, as used today, does not refer to a distinctive military unit or division, but to the type of formation of an army's troops. Therefore, this term does not indicate a standard combat strength or composition but includes the total number of infantry, deployed in a single formation known as a "phalanx". Many spear-armed troops fought in what might be termed phalanx-like formations; this article focuses on the use of the military phalanx formation in Ancient Greece, the Hellenistic world, other ancient states influenced by Greek civilization.
The earliest known depiction of a phalanx-like formation occurs in a Sumerian stele from the 25th century BC. Here the troops seem to have been equipped with spears and large shields covering the whole body. Ancient Egyptian infantry were known to have employed similar formations; the first usage of the term phalanx comes from Homer's "", used to describe hoplites fighting in an organized battle line. Homer used the term to differentiate the formation-based combat from the individual duels so found in his poems. Historians have not arrived at a consensus about the relationship between the Greek formation and these predecessors of the hoplites; the principles of shield wall and spear hedge were universally known among the armies of major civilizations throughout history, so the similarities may be related to convergent evolution instead of diffusion. Traditionally, historians date the origin of the hoplite phalanx of ancient Greece to the 8th century BC in Sparta, but this is under revision, it is more that the formation was devised in the 7th century BC after the introduction of the aspis by the city of Argos, which would have made the formation possible.
This is further evidenced by the Chigi vase, dated to 650 BC, identifying hoplites armed with aspis and panoply. Another possible theory as to the birth of Greek phalanx warfare stems from the idea that some of the basic aspects of the phalanx were present in earlier times yet were not developed due to the lack of appropriate technology. Two of the basic strategies seen in earlier warfare include the principle of cohesion and the use of large groups of soldiers; this would suggest that the Greek phalanx was rather the culmination and perfection of a developed idea that originated many years earlier. As weaponry and armour advanced through the years in different city-states, the phalanx became complex and effective; the hoplite phalanx of the Archaic and Classical periods in Greece was the formation in which the hoplites would line up in ranks in close order. The hoplites would lock their shields together, the first few ranks of soldiers would project their spears out over the first rank of shields.
The phalanx therefore presented a shield wall and a mass of spear points to the enemy, making frontal assaults against it difficult. It allowed a higher proportion of the soldiers to be engaged in combat at a given time. Battles between two phalanxes took place in open, flat plains where it was easier to advance and stay in formation. Rough terrain or hilly regions would have made it difficult to maintain a steady line and would have defeated the purpose of a phalanx; as a result, battles between Greek city-states would not take place in just any location, nor would they be limited to sometimes obvious strategic points. Rather, many times, the two opposing sides would find the most suitable piece of land where the conflict could be settled; the battle ended with one of the two fighting forces fleeing to safety. The phalanx advanced at a walking pace, although it is possible that they picked up speed during the last several yards. One of the main reasons for this slow approach was to maintain formation.
The formation would be rendered useless if the phalanx was lost as the unit approached the enemy and could become detrimental to the advancing unit, resulting in a weaker formation, easier for an enemy force to break through. If the hoplites of the phalanx were to pick up speed toward the latter part of the advance, it would have been for the purpose of gaining momentum against the enemy in the initial collision. Herodotus states of the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon, that "They were the first Greeks we know of to charge their enemy at a run". Many historians believe that this innovation was precipitated by their desire to minimize their losses from Persian archery; the opposing sides would collide severing many of the spears of the row in front and killing the front part of the enemy army due to the bone-breaking collision. The "physical pushing match" theory is one where the battle would rely on the valour of the men in the front line, whilst those in the rear maintained forward pressure on the front ranks with their shields, the whole formation would press forward trying to break the enemy formation.
This is the most acce
Argos is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is a major center for the area. Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality of Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit; the municipal unit has an area of 138.138 km2. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, its historic harbour. A settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a substantial village for the past 7,000 years; the city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. A resident of the city of Argos is known as an Argive. However, this term is used to refer to those ancient Greeks who assaulted the city of Troy during the Trojan War. Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today. Agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy; the name of the city is ancient and several etymological theories have been proposed as an explanation to its meaning. The most popular one maintains that the name of the city is a remainder from the Pelasgian language, i.e. the one used by the people who first settled in the area, in which Argos meant "plain".
Alternatively, the name is associated with Argos, the third king of the city in ancient times, who renamed it after himself, thus replacing its older name Phoronikon Astu. It is believed that "Argos" is linked to the word "αργός", which meant "white". According to Strabo, the name could have originated from the word "αγρός" by antimetathesis of the consonants. Argos is traditionally considered to be the origins of the ancient Macedonian royal Greek house of the Argead dynasty; the most celebrated members were Philip II of Alexander the Great. As a strategic location on the fertile plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. In classical times Argos was a powerful rival of Sparta for dominance over the Peloponnese, but was shunned by other Greek city-states after remaining neutral during the Greco-Persian Wars. There is evidence of continuous settlement in the area starting with a village about 7000 years ago in the late Neolithic, located on the foot of Aspida hill.
Since that time, Argos has been continually inhabited at the same geographical location. Its creation is attributed to Phoroneus, with its first name having been Phoronicon Asty, or the city of Phoroneus; the historical presence of the Pelasgian Greeks in the area can be witnessed in the linguistic remainders that survive up to today, such as the name of the city and "Larisa", the name of the city's castle located on the hill of the name. The city is located at a rather propitious area, among Nemea and Arcadia, it benefitted from its proximity to lake Lerna, which, at the time, was at a distance of one kilometre from the south end of Argos. Argos was a major stronghold of Mycenaean times, along with the neighbouring acropolis of Mycenae and Tiryns became a early settlement because of its commanding positions in the midst of the fertile plain of Argolis. Argos experienced its greatest period of expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King Pheidon. Under Pheidon, Argos regained sway over the cities of the Argolid and challenged Sparta’s dominance of the Peloponnese.
Spartan dominance is thought to have been interrupted following the Battle of Hyssiae in 669-668 BC, in which Argive troops defeated the Spartans in a hoplite battle. During this time of its greatest power, the city boasted a pottery and bronze sculpturing school, pottery workshops and clothes producers. Moreover, at least 25 celebrations took place in the city, in addition to a regular local products exhibition. A sanctuary dedicated to Hera was found at the same spot where the monastery of Panagia Katekrymeni is located today. Pheidon extended Argive influence throughout Greece, taking control of the Olympic Games away from the citizens of Elis and appointing himself organizer during his reign. Pheidon is thought to have introduced reforms for standard weight and measures in Argos, a theory further reinforced with the unearthing of six "spits" of iron in an Argive Heraion remainders of a dedication from Pheidon. Argos remained neutral or the ineffective ally of Athens during the 5th century BC struggles between Sparta and Athens.
This, led to its weakening and loss of power, which in turn led to the shift of commercial focus from the Ancient Agora to the eastern side of the city, delimited by Danaou and Agiou Konstadinou streets. Argos played a minor role in the Corinthian Wars against Sparta, for a short period of time considered uniting with Corinth to form an expanded Argolid state. However, this plan never came to fruition, Argos continued to remain a minor power in Greek affairs. Argos was a democracy for most of the classical period, with only a brief hiatus between 418 and 416. Democracy was first established after a disastrous defeat by the Spartans at the Battle of Sepeia in 494. So many Argives were killed in the battle that a revolution ensued, in which disenfranchised outsiders were included in the state for the first time. Argive democracy included an Assembly, a Council, another body called'The Eighty,' whose precise responsibilities are obscure. Magistrates served six-month terms of office, with few exceptions, were audited at the end of their terms.
There is some evidence that ostracis